Rev Gary’s Blog - March 2018
Passion Week & Holy Week-, and what’s Good about Good Friday??
Why is this week, the most Holy and most special of week is called Passiontide or Passion week? Let me describe the week first.....
Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. On this day, the people welcomed Jesus and waved palm leaves, the red carpet treatment of the day I suppose. We remember that by the giving and receiving of palm crosses. Come this Sunday, 25th March at 10.45am at the Village Hall in Feckenham and do just that. Two donkeys will be on our walk this year!
Passion Week contained several memorable events. Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time, then disputed with the Pharisees regarding His authority and taught many things, including the signs of His second coming. Jesus had His Last Supper with His disciples in the upper room and left us with Holy Communion as a lasting remembrance of Him in our lives- a meal that church services have every week as the Communion. I will be coming into school and sharing this with Year 4. Jesus then went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray as He waited for His hour to come. It was here that Jesus, having been betrayed by Judas, was arrested and taken to trials before the chief priests and Pontius Pilate
Following the trials, Jesus was tortured at the hands of the Roman soldiers, then was forced to carry His own instrument of execution (the Cross) through the streets of Jerusalem.
Jesus was then crucified at Golgotha on what we know as Good Friday . He was buried and remained in the tomb until Sunday, the day after the Sabbath, and then gloriously resurrected.
May be this is a good point to say - what is Good about Good Friday instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins. If you are around, why not come to the Gazebo on Foxholes Lane in Callow End on Good Friday morning (30th March 2018 - 1030—12n for some family activities, crafts, Easter Egg Hunt and a short act of worship)
And that links us back to Passion and Passion Week. Christians believe that Jesus truly revealed His passion for us in the suffering He willingly went through on our behalf.
What should our attitude be during Passion Week? We should be passionate in our love of Jesus in our lives. As He suffered for us, so should we be willing to give thanks and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection to all we love and meet in our lives. And that is what new life is all about - and maybe why Easter imagery is full of chicks, eggs and bunnies, spring flowers and hopefully we can all see through the Cross to that new life.
Rev Gary (20th March 2018)
Lent is one of the most important seasons in the church's calendar and due to its usage changing over 2000 years and across the different denominations of Christianity it has had a wide variety of customs associated with it. Part of the richness of the season is this huge variety of different emphases, and so long as we do not ever restrict ourselves to just any one of these it can be a hugely enriching period for us to engage with.
Originally a season of preparation and prayer for those who were to be baptised on Easter Sunday, it has always had a sense of getting ourselves prepared for the great feast of Easter. The idea of 40 days of fasting came through later Greek and Latin influences and helps us focus on a time of penance, and sometimes fasting, as part of our devotional preparation for Easter. But it is the meaning of the English word 'Lent' which always inspires me most - "Spring". Spring is the season of new growth and preparation for fruitfulness. A season for optimism and new life.
After clearing out the cupboards of the fat and sweet things, and cheering on Mr Small for another victory at the School Pancake Race on Shrove Tuesday, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday with our ashing service at Feckenham Church at 7.00pm on Valentine’s Day. So if you are not on a Date Night with a loved one, come and join us in church. Rather than giving up something for Lent, why not do something different instead. Donate to Sports Relief, leave a tin or packet for the Redditch Foodbank. Fast if you want, but I won’t be doing that. Yes, I’ve tried giving up chocolate – it doesn’t work! Various other opportunities to give or give up or learn something about this Lent season exist over the 40- days – so do consider how you can engage with this important time of year. Go on Mr Small!
Whether through these services or in other ways I trust that you will use and find Lent as a season for your own growth and spiritual enrichment and development of the church.
What is Epiphany?
Chances are, you are all sitting at home with boxes or bags of decorations to struggle up into the loft or to find the time to put the decorations away in the garage. But should we? Really, we should keep some decorations up until early February, but that’s another story. Was that a surprise revelation to hear that ? Well, that’s what the Epiphany is all about - a little four week season just after Christmas that reveals so much. And very few people know about, I sense.
Epiphany moments - a wake up call - a revelation- that’s what happened when the Three Wise Men or Kings turned up to see Jesus. Chances are, given the distances and camel speed, they arrived when Jesus was a toddler rather than just in time for Mary to change the godly nappy. But the thing is - they arrived and by doing so we remember as Christians that Jesus was revealed to all of us - for all time. What a revelation!
Another revelation - the epiphany is a traditional time to as God’s Blessing on your homes and schools. How do we do this? Well, write the following on a piece of card and put it up near your front door:
No, this is not some algebra for Mrs Bray to resolve but an important message.
CMB - is the initials of the names of the three wise men - Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar ( always a good answer to have for a pub quiz question) and they symbolise the revelation. The 20 and 18 is easy = 2018, our new year. CMB also means Christus Mansionem Benedicat - may Christ Jesus Bless this House or School.
Put the card up somewhere and see how many people ask you what it means.
A prayer - Loving God, bless our house and our school. May we be blessed with health, happiness, goodness of heart and abiding in your will. Amen